God-Forsaken PlacesAugust 23, 2006
Months ago, I read a blog entry about some place referred to by a correspondent as “god-forsaken”. Actually, they used God in the absolute sense, meaning that God had forsaken that city. It doesn’t matter which city it was…all the “sin cities” of the world might apply to what I am about to say.
We were in Las Vegas as part of our trip last week and spent the day there recovering from the first 2,400 miles of the trip. It was Sunday and we took a day of rest and recuperation. I had a close friend question my choice of cities to stop in for a rest. By implication, he thought that my spirit could be renewed much better anywhere else but this “godforsaken” place like Vegas.
There cannot be a place that is God-forsaken. God is the one who promised “I will never leave you…I will never forsake you.” I can hear someone saying “But that refers only to those who have come into a relationship with God.” I’m not sure that is completely the case, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that is true. On the Sunday we visited Vegas and stayed there, we visited the church of a friend of mine: South Hills Church in Henderson. We were so incredibly blessed by the genuine warmth of their fellowship. People really like each other there. As the service went on, they didn’t have this “hiding in a cave” mentality of being a church in Vegas. They love living there and they love the challenge of helping people work through drug, alcohol, gambling and sexual addictions.
Wasn’t Jesus ostracised from the religious establishment because he ate and drank with tax collectors and prostitutes? They enjoyed hanging around with him because He was real and he made people feel like they were important. Can a city be godforsaken if there are people crying out to God for help? It would be impossible.
What would a godforsaken city look like? It would be a city of people who say these three things:
1. God, we’ve got everything in order in our lives and don’t need you. Thanks.
2. God, we can accomplish anything we want without your help. We’ll call you if we need you.
3. God, thank you I’m not like other people who are losers.
Actually, that would be a “forsaking-god” city, wouldn’t it? Vegas is no worse than L.A….their addictions are more obvious. L.A. is addicted to prestige, home ownership, body image and possessions. Sacramento is addicted to the political intrigue, rising home values, mega-plastic churches and hurry. Every city, yours included, has its reasons why it needs God. Vegas is just more obvious.